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Consider the language of 'Romeo and Juliet' and comment on the contribution to the plays success of Shakespeare's use of metaphor and simile, repetition and punning. Illustrate your answer with careful reference to the text

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Introduction

Julia Cloke "Gibson says that Shakespeare, "brilliantly transformed whatever he worked on", through his use of language. Consider the language of 'Romeo and Juliet' and comment on the contribution to the plays success of Shakespeare's use of metaphor and simile, repetition and punning. Illustrate your answer with careful reference to the text". Shakespeare was fascinated by language. Throughout the play 'Romeo and Juliet', he uses words a tools to do his work and conjure images of every different emotion. Shakespeare unleashes the whole spectrum of emotions, always having at least two scenarios for each scene. These usually come from the characters and 'Romeo and Juliet' is rich in many different uses of language. The play 'Romeo and Juliet' is full of oppositions that beset the doomed lovers. In the prologue, we hear of an, "ancient grudge break to new mutiny." A clever use of language, oxymorons, highlight these oppositions. An oxymoron is usually a phrase, divided into two parts. Each part is contradictory to the other and the result is a phrase of striking expression. An example of this would be, "O loving hate." The words love and hate are opposite emotions, so when placed together they emphasise and heighten the feelings of Romeo, who is describing his love for Rosalind and Rosalind's failure to return his affections. Oxymorons are very useful for describing these contradictory states of feeling that people often experience in times of excitement, crisis, and stress. ...read more.

Middle

He goes on to say, " for this drivelling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole." In this context, the word, "bauble," is used to mean penis and the word, "hole," refers to the vagina. Mercutio is really saying that love alone is simply love, but when love is used for sex, nature takes over. Love is merely the word that disguises the true intention of sex, making the action seem more romantic and less like an act of instinct and human nature. He says this confidence of his convictions. Yet Mercutio isn't the only character who uses punning to create or conceal atmosphere. In the very first scene of 'Romeo and Juliet', two Capulet servants are joking and boasting about their superiority to the Montagues. Sampson and Gregory are too making clever references to sex. Sampson: "I will be civil with the maids; I will cut off their heads. Gregory: "The heads of the maids?" Sampson: "Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads." Here Sampson has used the word, "maidenhead," in two meanings. Firstly it is another way of saying, "the heads of the maidens," but the words are simply reversed. However, what Sampson is really trying to convey is that he will take away the girl's virginity. "Maidenheads," is a polite word for virginity and here the Capulet servant is using it to describe to Gregory how the Capulet men are far better equipped than Montague men. ...read more.

Conclusion

We just don't notice that because these phrases have become so familiar, we don't think anything of it. In Act 2 Scene 2 Juliet says, "What's in a name?" referring to the obstacle of the two households in opposition to one another. This phrase is one of many throughout the play that is commonly used today. Also in Act 2, but this time in Scene 5 is the phrase, "as gentle as a lamb," spoken by the Nurse to compare Romeo to a creature of mild nature. She does this to describe to Juliet her feelings of the young man, and this phrase is a way of saying that she approves of him. Also phrases such as, "on a wild goose chase," and," where the devil?," are found in the play, all of which are still widely in use today. This shows just how much impact Shakespeare has had on the English language, to still be able to find phrases that are 400 years old in existence today. Not only this, but the wide, complex spectrum of emotions created by the words Shakespeare uses adds depth and underlying meaning to his characters and their situations. Love, hate, every single emotion, are illustrated through the many types of language found in the play 'Romeo and Juliet', such as metaphors, similes and puns. He even invents his own words; giving existing words new meanings and unexpected twists. I think Gibson is right when he says that Shakespeare, "brilliantly transformed whatever he worked on." 'Romeo and Juliet' is no exception. ...read more.

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